Search Engines for the World Wide Webby Alfred Glossbrenner, Emily Glossbrenner
Search engines are the keys that unlock the information treasure houses of the Internet. Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to tap their power. Like software applications, each search engine has its own unique features. People who know how to use these features are able to focus their searches more sharply and are more likely to find the information they want. Each search engine also has its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to select the right search engine for the job. Users can learn about relative strengths and weaknesses spending a great deal of time using each engine, or they can simply buy Search Engines for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide for clear, step-by-step, up-to-date chapters on each of the most popular Web search engines: AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, InfoSeek, Lycos, WebCrawler, and Yahoo! It also shows the reader how to quickly find particular people or companies via other search tools such as Four11, BigBook, and Big Yellow. Shows everyone how to find the information they want on the Internet-quickly, easily, and without frustration.
- Focuses on the very best search engines (AltaVista, Yahoo!, etc.), while briefly discussing lesser engines and resources.
- Previous edition sold 15,000 copies in 8 months. Published in Peachpit Press's popular "Visual QuickStart Guide" format for fast, easy reference.
Read an Excerpt
The amount of information available on the Internet and the World Wide Web is vast and growing at a staggering rate. According to one widely publicized study (originally published in the journal Science on April 3, 1998), there may be as many as 320 million Web pages accessible via the Internet, and millions of new ones are added every month.
So how does anyone find anything? That's the $64,000 question. If you're like us, the fascination of "browsing the Web"-clicking on links to go aimlessly hither and yon-wore off a long time ago. We want to sign on, get the information we need, sign off, and go about our business and our lives.
Fortunately, excellent tools are available on the Net to help you do just that. They're
called search engines and, not surprisingly,
the best of them consistently rank among
the most popular sites on the Net.
But now we have a new problem and a whole new set of questions. With so many search engines out there (one popular Internet directory currently lists 156 and the number keeps growing), how do we find out what the really good ones are? Does it make any difference which one we choose? Will a search for, say, Year 2000 Problem or Ally McBeal episode guide produce the same results whether we use AltaVista or Excite or Yahoo?
How to get the most
out of this book
This book will answer all of these questions and more. And like all the books in the Visual QuickStart series, it's designed to do so with a minimum of technical jargon and extraneous information. You'll find lots of step-by-step instructions and specific examples for using search engines in general, and the very best ones in particular.
In writing the book, we've made just a few basic assumptions about you:
- You understand the fundamentals of working with a computer, such as how to use a mouse and how to choose menu commands.
- You have access to the Internet-either through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Earthlink or Netcom or an online service like America Online (AOL) or Microsoft Network (MSN).
- You have some experience using a Web browser program such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer to visit Web sites, and now you're ready to do more than just "surf the Net."
If you're not quite up to speed on one or more of these fronts, you may want to hold off on this book for the time being. Instead, check at your favorite bookstore or your local library for The Little Web Book: A Gentle Introduction to the World Wide Web and the Internet (also published by Peachpit Press). We wrote Little Web for people who are venturing onto the Internet for the very first time. Once you've read it and spent some time exploring Web sites on your own, the information presented in this book will make a lot more sense.
How this book is organized
The chapters in Search Engines for the World Wide Web are organized into three major parts, followed by four appendices. Here's what's covered in each one:
Part 1: Search Basics
Here we introduce you to the concept of search engines and how they work. You'll also learn about keywords-how to choose the right ones and the various methods of combining them for more effective searches. We round things out with some specific tips and techniques for using any search engine.
Part 2: Using the Leading
This part gets down to specifics with chapters on six of the most popular Web search engines. By the time you're finished, you'll know about their strengths and weaknesses and how to use the major features. Perhaps best of all, each chapter includes at least one Quick Reference guide that summarizes the key commands and search rules for each search engine.
Part 3: Using Specialized
This part presents some alternatives to the all-purpose "Swiss Army Knife" approach of the search engines covered in Part 2. Just as cooks and carpenters need special tools from time to time, so too do Web searchers. We'll introduce you to some of the best of these special tools and help you understand when to use them for faster, more efficient searches.
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